APAC a Key Driver of Global CE Markets

GfK’s Gerard Tan was one of the “main acts” at the recent IFA Global Press Conference in Rome. In his presentation, he explained that in Asia, the consumer is “hyperconnected”. We are moving towards an era in which consumers today, especially Asian consumers, really embrace the connected lifestyle in everything they do.

GfK has been looking at how consumers use their smartphone when shopping around the world, and found that in Asia Pacific, the percentage was particularly high. 90% of consumers in China use their smartphone to help them do their shopping. Brands are thus customising their marketing, keeping this in mind, and it’s even affecting the way products are rolled-out and presented. Even baby boomers, aged approximately from 53 to 71, now use their mobile phone as the first source of information before shopping, and it goes without saying that Gen Y and Gen Z are leading the charge. The majority of them don’t even have credit cards, but most of them will be carrying a mobile phone.

According to Tan, there is a link between the consumers across Asia-Pacific, in that among the younger generation, 90% own smartphones, but only 69% hold credit cards or charge cards: “There are a number of young people who have a smartphone but no credit card at all. And they do three things: they explore, the research and they purchase; and they want to do these three things whenever and wherever they are. Here, China and India are way ahead of the curve. 70% of all the consumers we surveyed also agreed that these three things are fundamentally part of what they do almost every week. This has resulted in the skyrocketing of eCommerce – online sales. This has grown to US$46bn in APAC – and I am just talking about eight markets. That breaks down to US$31bn in smartphone sales, US$7bn for TVs and US$8bn for major appliances. So, going to a shop, and then making the purchases online, is becoming very common in APAC.”

Sales of biometric enabled smartphones are growing fast, and another new phenomenon is a surge in sales of smartwatches with NFC – as a “mobile wallet”. In terms of value, Tan says we are now up to around half of all sales – a growth of 22% over the previous year.

With a rapidly expanding consumer base, Asians are tech savvy consumers. Data shows that Asians are spending more and more across all major tech devices. Asia is hungry for new technology – with its rapidly expanding middle class. The continent is embracing mobile payments, fuelling opportunities for omni-channel, and Asia is making AI more affordable, with high adoption rates, and China leading the way.

Photo: Gerard Tan – Commercial Director, GfK Asia